I visited a psychotherapist the other day and on the leg of the journey that I am on, it felt like I was taking a huge step backwards.
having dragged myself through thick and thin without recoursing to remember, recite and contemplate every single miserable memory for the last few months at least, it seemed pretty shallow and shit and pointless to sit there blubbering again over some sad thing that happened when I was 4, 7, 13, 19, 21……. or so on. But hey there I sat and there I blubbered.
the nice lady with the Dickensy name … Dr Katherine Deatheater-Gormling or something to that effect… sat opposite me, tidy and nice, and asked me probing questions that had me back into an anxious state within minutes.
And I played ball. Like a helpless lamb to the slaughter I was putty in her analytical and dispassionate fingers. She was nice. But she was also most definitely just doing her job.
Thing is, I’ve travelled and fallen and got up and fallen again quite a lot in the last few therapy free months, and there I found myself outside the hospital drinking a crap coffee after eventually receiving the call to assessment.
(brief aside regarding coffee: Me: can I have a flat white please?
Dispassionate unsmiling coffee girl: small or large?
Me ( nonplussed but unfailingly polite and mildly desperate) Small? (flat white is small by definition yes or no?)
Her: hands me a tureen of coffee with added water and extra milk- so a large americano with lots of milk.
Me: takes tureen and walks away fuming and cursing under my breath as in a non assertive mood unless psychopathic so choose passive coffee tureen acceptance since I am after all going for a psychological assessment.
Anyway cut back to before, I’m outside the hospital, resentfully and cursing inwardly the coffee girl, but still nonetheless drinking my tureen of coffee and smoking a roll up in a state of shaky terror and desperation to be made better. A lady sauntering out of the hospital with a carer type of companion, in a state of seeming med-elation, coos to me ( I was sat squat between parked bikes under a shelter as it threatened to storm with wild winds and rain petering haphazardly down) ‘You’re are sheltering from the storm?’ . This elated lady with an air of nonchalance states this in my very direction. “Yes” I called confirmingly back, smiling and thankful for a kind bit of med-elated communication.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet” she shrills in a patois drawl. And I thought aloud to myself. Thanks. Thanks the fuck for that. I really fucking needed that. I thought you were being nice but you are the harbinger of my general doom.
But I suppose she had a point. I haven’t seen nothing yet. And the horrors of my brain were keenly open to suggestion.
The wind swirled and the sky whitened and I made my way into the rain pelted NHS building; all locked doors and reinforced surfaces. no soft furnishings and soft touch stuff. this is mental health, admittedly of the psychological voluntary kind, but still a service that deals with the body; not the true mind or the desperate soul. Well perhaps. But not mine I don’t think.
Anyway cutting long short. I had a tearful and miserable monologue interspersed with questions and probing and downright pointless going back on things and now have an appointment to go back and decide or be told what they can offer me- which is kind. But it’s pretty much 9 months of psychodynamic therapy with a trainee or group therapy of a similar kind for two years with my interviewer. I am wary.
and yet I am desperate also to find an end to my constant battle with futility.
Today I harked back to a need to confess to a man in a dress behind a grate in a holy tomb in a tiny room my years of sin of getting it all so utterly wrong. Just one small conversation. Sorry father for I have sinned I am not sure how but it hurts. the church was closed. so I went to the beach and spoke to God there instead. I just spilt a few beans from my heart and then forgot I had started and watched the seagulls and the frothy shallow waves rush back in.
I will decide if I should embark on more therapy. I wonder if it’s too late for that now, that ship has maybe sailed. I know it’s been hard for me (yes me. I exist like you exist inner critic. and it’s hard for us all) and things have been strange but now it’s time to move on?
we all have our stuff to bear right? stuff to recognise, accept and maybe even put down when we are ready to……..